‘Hero’ farmer ‘sinks unwanted new market town plans’

Robert Worsley a farmer from Twineham, has been hailed a 'hero' for challenging Mayfield Market Towns at examination hearings last week (photo submitted).
Robert Worsley a farmer from Twineham, has been hailed a 'hero' for challenging Mayfield Market Towns at examination hearings last week (photo submitted).

A ‘hero’ farmer from Twineham who turned down £275m for his land has been praised for sinking ‘unwanted’ and ‘ghastly’ plans for a new market town in Mid Sussex.

Robert Worsley, who has refused to sell his 550 acres to Mayfield Market Towns, challenged the company directly about the deliverability of its 10,000-home project at examination hearings scrutinising Mid Sussex District Council’s local plan last week.

The land, near Sayers Common, has not been allocated as a strategic site by either MSDC or Horsham District Council in its planning frameworks, despite years of lobbying by Mayfields.

On Friday, Mr Worsley told planning inspector Jonathan Bore: “As the landowner of the land in that area, I can confirm that the land is not available – it doesn’t have willing land owners there, both in terms of my land and the land belonging to all the farmers and landowners around me.”

Mr Worsley continued: “I can confirm that it [Mayfields] is not supported, it is not deliverable and frankly it’s a non-starter from any constraint point of view,” he concluded.

Afterwards Sir Nicholas Soames, Mid Sussex MP, called Mr Worsley a ‘hero’ on Twitter and argued he had sunk Mayfield’s ‘unwanted’ and ‘ghastly’ proposals.

Meanwhile Michael Brown, speaking for the Campaign to Protect Rural Engalnd’s Sussex branch, added: “The countryside needs to be central in the context of how the plan properly balances the undoubted need for more houses with the environmental sustainability and enhancement.”

The district council is proposing an 800 homes a year target, but developers have lobbied for the number to be increased by Mr Bore.

Two more days of examination hearings are set to be held in February.

Mayfield Market Towns have been approached for comment.

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